What is a Montessori school?
Montessori is an educational philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori who spent her life researching education of youth. This philosophy has a strong emphasis on independence and encourages curiosity and spontaneous activity by the child.
Key Aspects of Montessori Education Include:
Research demonstrates that children enrolled in Montessori programs:
A Montessori education teaches children to:
Research shows that brain development and intelligence are dependent upon experience in the environment and purposeful movement. Children who are in Montessori environments are encouraged to move and use the didactic materials that build coordination, a sense of order, and problem solving skills.
Montessori education is built on the following pillars:
Respect for the child: The goal of early education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate his/her own natural desire to learn.
Absorbent mind: Montessori refers to the period of life between birth and three as the time when brain functions and intelligence are being formed. Man, unlike animals, is not born with pre-established behavior patterns, only with the ability to form them. Dr. Montessori spoke of the child’s brain as the “absorbent mind” because of its great ability to learn and assimilate effortlessly and unconsciously from the world around him. Dr. Montessori wrote in The Absorbent Mind: “The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For this is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. At no other age has the child greater need of intelligent help, and any obstacle that impedes his creative work will lessen the chance he has of achieving perfection.”
Sensitive periods: Time of intense fascination for learning a particular characteristic or skill, such as going up and down steps, putting things in order, counting or reading. It is easier for a child to learn a particular skill during the corresponding sensitive period than at any other time in her life. A Montessori classroom takes advantage of this fact by allowing the child freedom to select individual activities that correspond to her own periods of interest.
Prepared Environment: The classroom is a prepared environment where furniture is child size, beauty and cleanliness are emphasized and the materials are limited to what will support the child’s development. The children are shown the whole process of an activity, from taking it off the shelf to tidying and putting it all away before starting on a next activity. Thus, children learn how to fully complete the project rather than leaving it midway.